It’s not every day that a water balloon fight stirs up enough excitement to make the news.
But that is exactly what happened when the Emporia State football team held a water balloon fight during practice on Aug. 19.
“We’ve been having a long preseason camp, thought it might be fun to break up the routine a little bit and have a little bit of fun with the players,” said Head Coach Garin Higgins, who enters his sixth year at ESU with a 14-29 record.
But what Higgins didn’t expect was how a water balloon fight could turn into national news. The story has hit several national networks, such as Fox Sports, MSN and even ESPN.
As it turns out, football isn’t the only fall sport that did something to break up the daily routine and improve its chemistry. Several other coaches have shed a little light this week on some of the things they did as a team before the season.
Coach Bryan Sailer of the ESU women’s soccer team and some of his upperclassmen held a soccer camp before the year for ages 4-6 and 7-13.
“It was a good camp, we just focused on a lot of the beginning skills of soccer,” Sailer said. “It was fun because you get to see the girls in a whole new light coaching little kids.”
The Lady Hornets soccer team also holds a talent show every year, which is mainly to take their minds off of soccer.
“We always have a talent show, which this year didn’t display that much talent, but it’s just to have fun,” Sailer said.
Team chemistry is also a focal point of the volleyball team.
“This is a really great group. They hang out together, rent a movie and eat pizza,” said Head Coach Bing Xu, who enters his seventh year with a 152-53 record.
“During the preseason most of the players came back,” Xu said. “The captain tried to hold them together, went somewhere like a lake house (and) just stayed there overnight. I think that’s a great way to do something as a team before preseason starts.”
Even an individual performance based sport like cross country does something as a team to improve chemistry.
“Our guys and girls get together for a lot for dinners. Lately it’s been Pizza Ranch,” said Eric Wellman, who enters his first year as head coach. “I would say one of the biggest things our team does is support the other teams, almost always in the front row. It’s one of their best bonding experiences as a team, going out and supporting the other teams.”
Look for Wellman’s group of guys and girls in the front row at 7 p.m. tonight when the “water balloon fighting” football team takes on the Fort Hays State Tigers in the opening game of the season.